Curtiss-Wright Awarded €4.5 Million European Space Agency Contract
Curtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions division announced on Wednesday that its Ireland-based facility has been selected by the prime contractor on the Vega-C Launcher System and GPM Development and Qualification Program for the European Space Agency (ESA), to provide a COTS-based telemetry data system for the new launcher.
At €4.5 million, this is the largest ESA related contract ever awarded to an Irish based operation. The confidence placed in Curtiss-Wright by the award of this contract establishes the Dublin operation as one of the world leaders in the use of COTS electronics equipment in critical space applications and raises the profile of Ireland’s space industry in the global space marketplace.
The announcement was made during a visit to Curtiss-Wright’s Dublin facility by Minister for Training and Skills John Halligan, where he congratulated the team involved saying; “This contract award demonstrates how Irish operations, such as Curtiss-Wright’s facility in Dublin, are developing technologies to the highest levels of performance and reliability for the European space program. These technologies have the potential to lead to increased sales in the global market and the creation of high value jobs in Irish operations in line with the Government’s strategy for Ireland’s membership of ESA.”
The mid-sized Vega-C is designed to deliver government, commercial and science payloads weighing three tons or less, such as small satellite constellations to low-earth orbit. As this market is especially cost-sensitive, ESA’s goal is for the Vega-C launcher to serve as a next-generation launch vehicle that is able to support the same or greater mission objectives as the original Vega launcher, but at reduced cost. Curtiss-Wright’s cost-effective COTS electronics systems approach was selected to support this challenging performance/cost target.
This agreement represents the first use of Curtiss-Wright’s groundbreaking radiation tolerant Smart Backplane technology on a European launch vehicle. Under the contract, Curtiss-Wright will provide ELV with a full telemetry system, including data acquisition, data handling, and RF transmission. The Vega-C development contract runs from January 2017 until first launch in June 2019, with a value estimated at €4.5 million. The value of the subsequent production phase is estimated at more than €10 million over the lifetime of the program.
“We are very excited about being selected by ELV to provide our cost-effective Space COTS telemetry system for use on the Vega-C, especially as this is our first avionics design win on a European launcher,” said, Defense Solutions division General Manager, Lynn Bamford. “Our unique Smart Backplane technology enables radiation tolerant electronics to be used in many applications across many market sectors, allowing lower cost COTS modules to be reliably used in harsh space environments.”
The Vega-C rocket will be launched from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. ESA’s requirement for Vega-C flights include a nominal of three launches per year, with expected demand for at least four per year. Curtiss-Wright will develop and manufacture the telemetry system for Vega-C at its facilities in Dublin, Ireland.
Ireland’s industrial and research participation in the programs of ESA is coordinated by Enterprise Ireland in collaboration with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Additional EI client companies that will support Curtiss-Wright as sub-suppliers on this program include Schivo and Realtime Technologies